Ex-Footballer spared jail

An ex-footballer who fleeced an elderly disabled woman of her life savings to pay his gambling debts has been spared a jail term.

On Friday March 4th, Julian Capone, of Williamson Road, Kempston, who played for Bedford Town Football Club and Arlesey Town, after playing as a youth for Tottenham Hotspur, pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by false representation.

He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years with 12 months supervision and 200 hours unpaid work.

Prosecutor, Richard Mandel told Luton Crown Court, that although it was originally thought Capone had taken almost £16,000 from the victim, who is in her 80's, it was now accepted that the total sum was £13,140. She has been fully reimbursed by her bank said the prosecutor.

Capone had been her lodger and in return for a reduced rent he would help her as she was housebound.

When he began living at her home in 2008 he had been rehabilitated from his gambling addiction and he told her of the problems he had had. She trusted him to withdraw cash for her using her PIN card.

"In July last year, she received a bank statement indicating large sums of money had been moved from her savings account into her current account and withdrawn over the previous three months. She told Mr Capone that something terrible had happened and he immediately confessed to her that he was responsible," said Mr Mandel.

Miss Lee Halliday-Davis, defending. said Capone had begun to gamble again in 2010, having stopped for three years, when he was under personal pressures. Also people who had lent him money when he was addicted before had found where he was and were making demands from him.

"He does not live with her anymore but still attends her house daily to help her and is once again in her trust. He sees it like a grandson/ grandmother relationship. He is ashamed that he took advantage of that close relationship."

She said he had taken an evening job to repay what money he could.

Recorder Michael Evans told 38-year-old Julian Capone: "I have decided to give you a chance, though you have come within a hair's breadth of going to prison for the first time in you life. But if you take so much as £1 from anyone over the next two years you will go to prison."

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